Committee First Quarter National Expenditure Report: adoption

Budget Committee on Appropriation

14 August 2008
Chairperson: Ms Mabe (ANC); Mr Mkhaliphi- absent (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee considered the Report and effected certain technical and grammatical amendments. The report was adopted, with amendments.

Meeting report

Dr D Gumede (ANC) stated that the issue of theft should not fall under unauthorized expenditure. It should ideally be listed as an irregular expenditure. Furthermore he was concerned that the listing of the R3.4 billion in Table 3 on page 4 under financial transactions had the tendency to hide the irregularity of that expense according to the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

Mr G Schneeman (ANC) asked whether the response of National Treasury to the details regarding the unauthorized expenditure was provided in writing. If that was so, those responses needed to be forwarded to Members for record-keeping purposes, and should be included in this report.

Ms J Fubbs (ANC) stated that although the Committee Researchers had acquired responses from the National Treasury, these responses were very vague in the sense that they did not specify which government departments had incurred unauthorized and irregular expenditures, i.e. theft. This would become an issue in the sense that departments would feel as if fingers were pointed to them for the wrongs they did not commit. She advised that the Committee Researchers go back to the National Treasury to get the relevant specifications of all the unauthorized and irregular expenditures.

Ms D Robinson (DA) stated that the culprit needs to be identified so that the departments involved in were dealt with accordingly and were held accountable for their actions.

The Chairperson suggested that the introduction should include that the Department of Public Services appeared before the Committee.

Ms Fubbs stated that land and subsoil assets tabled in page 10 under ‘total capital payments’ should be elaborated on. The issues regarding the delays on invoicing payments were not included in the Report, and that needed to be included in the findings so as to achieve transparency.

Mr Perran Hahndiek, Committee Secretary, stated that expense accounts were covered on page 6, and page 12 captured the concerns of the Committee. He mentioned that he tried to keep the report as general as possible.

The Chairperson pointed out that although the report was of a general nature, certain issues needed to be elaborated on.

Mr Schneeman mentioned that the Auditor General’s Report was contradicted by some government departments.

Ms Fubbs advised that challenging the findings of the Auditor General’s office may lead to serious consequences and such matters should be reflected cautiously.

Mr Schneeman asked if there were any reports regarding the delays of the installation of the under-sea cable. His main concern was whether the installation of this cable would have an effect on the budget.

The Chairpersons stated that there was an impression that the project is privately funded. The Department denied any delay in the installation of the cable, and that this needed to be reflected under the findings of the Committee in the report. Furthermore the committee needed to make it clear to the respective government departments that they not only needed to indicate whether they had in fact spent their entire budgets, but also needed to indicate what they had spent their budgets on.

The Chairperson thanked the members for attending and giving relevant inputs to the report.

The report was adopted with amendments, and the meeting was adjourned.


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